Afghan police detain 2 men over killing of Magsaysay awardee doctor

Kyodo News

Posted at Dec 09 2019 10:57 PM

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani carries the coffin of late Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura during a tribute ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 7, 2019. Mohammad Ismail, Reuters

Afghan police said Monday they have detained two men in connection with the shooting death last week of a Japanese doctor who was a well-known aid worker in the central Asian country.

Tetsu Nakamura, local representative of Japanese aid group Peshawar-kai, and his staff were traveling in two vehicles when he was gunned down in an ambush Wednesday in the eastern province of Nangarhar, according to Afghan authorities and group members.

It was also found that Nakamura, 73, was shot at close range with a special type of bullet not commonly seen in Afghanistan.

Nakamura was in the first of two vehicles with a driver and a bodyguard when they were attacked, according to Peshawar-kai, a nongovernmental organization based in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan.

Nakamura's car was followed by a security vehicle carrying four people including local staff of the NGO.

The 2003 recipient of the Philippines' Ramon Magsaysay Award, dubbed the Nobel Prize of Asia, Nakamura was known for dedicating his life to helping the Afghan people -- especially for his work in developing an irrigation system and improving agriculture in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan police initially said Nakamura and his associates were traveling in just one car but they later corrected the statement.

The police said they had not seen the second car at the shooting scene because the vehicle had to be used to carry the victims, including Nakamura, to medical facilities.

An Afghan health ministry official said Nakamura apparently bled to death.

A bullet which entered his right chest area and then lodged near the pelvis was custom designed for improved penetration, according to a doctor who performed the autopsy.

The doctor said such bullets are uncommon in the country.

Nakamura is believed to have been shot from above at close range while sitting in the front passenger seat.

Five Afghans, including the driver and bodyguards, were also killed in the attack.